How to import a CAD file format that is not in the list



I am a new user of Sketchup Pro and like the expanded import capabilities…however…I now have a case where the formats that I have available don’t match the ones that Sketchup Pro can handle! I can get the file that I need in the following formats: Parasolid (x_t), ACIS (SAT), STEP, IGES, or Solidworks (sldprt). Is there an easy way to get any of these formats translated to be importable into Sketchup? Is there a plug-in (that I do not need to pay for) that will work? If I do need to pay for one of the plug ins then which format is the best to use for translation purposes? The original file is the Parasolid.


first you need to understand, that there are 2 types of 3D model representations, the a) facetted polygon meshes used by SketchUp or Blender and allmost all rendern/raytracing apllications like 3D Studio or Cinema 4D etc. and b) the curved, exact faces and solids represented by NURBSplines used by all common 3D CAD applications like SolidWorks, Creo/ProE, NX, Parasolids, Inventor, Alibre, Shark or Catia etc. …there are also some which do use both technologies in one app as e.g. Form•Z.


The formats you are describing are all NURBS based formats sothat for an use with SketchUp a conversion of the NURBS faces to facetted polygon meshes during import is required, you can use e.g. the SimLab STEP importer (Extension Warehouse) for doing this.

Be aware, that bringing back the facetted polygon meshes to a 3D NURBS modeler does not lead to something useable, i.e. cannot be used for modeling purposes besides a mesh-to-NURBS functionality enables to convert back to NURBS… surely nothing you want to do in a repetitive manner.

Alternatively you may want use a 3D NURBS modeler as e.g., the cheap ViaCAD which supports the common neutral 3D CAD interchange formats STEP, Acis SAT and IGES for an import as well as export.


I am loath to invest the time, or money, into learning another tool so I guess it is down the SimLab path I go. I had tried using FreeCAD as an intermediary step and it works on simple models but dies on large ones. Thanks for the advice.